Echoes of Ragnarök
EoR Series History
EoR Quest Log
What Lurks Beneath
WLB Quest Log
Queen of Hearts
Feast of Leviathan
Questing in Rhiassa
War of Shadows

 


The What Lurks Beneath Plotline

When Rhiassa began its period of rebuilding into the modern era, around the end of the last decade, it was agreed upon by the leaders of the group to add a third yearly event to our calendar. We had noted the decline of the classic one-day dungeon crawl, a type of event much more common years ago, and we decided we could help rekindle that tradition.

It began with a dungeon. We decided to make one from scratch, building off of what we learned from the classic "Lak-cubes" and the more recent "Cheech and Kathy Ls". After months of design and redesign, a trip to New York for some materials, and a grueling few weeks putting everything together, we succeeded in creating thirty of our own "Rhiassan Ls". Over the five years of the plot, the dungeon needed repairs and refitting as we learned what it could and could not do, but it served us faithfully in allowing us to fill a large space with many obstacles that could be moved and altered to provide constant and varied combat challenges.

It continued with a commitment to props and costuming. Having invented the concept of the balaclava mask shortly before, we created dozens of goblins and trolls along with tunics and tabards to go with them. In the following years we added demons, skeletons, kobolds, illithids, imps, and other monster types. A big part of our design philosophy was to create interesting and high-quality items that players would be able to take home with them each year. We knew that great memories and great stories often revolved around keepsakes that players could hold on to for many years.

We set forth the principle that our quests were mostly about combat. We were able to rely on the greater UCONN community as well as the close friendships we held with other nations such as Grimloch and Ashenmark to provide us with a great number of high quality NPCs that could fight all day long. Rather than create legions of bad guys that were hard to defeat because of weapon immunities, we decided to create the concept of a troll that was strong enough to use larger weapons than a player character could. The 10-foot pikes they wielded (amongst other oversized arms) would make a lasting impression on the people who faced off against them.

We created a new paradigm for puzzles. Rather than split the adventuring party between those that fought through the room and those that interacted with a puzzle while they did so, we endeavored to create challenges that the entire questing party would have to engage together. Some of these puzzles involved figuring out the solution to a problem, and many others were physical challenges of some sort, making the players work together in a coordinated activity to clear the way forward.

Through the years we learned a lot. As we gained more experience, we found ways to reduce downtime and increase engagement. We mastered the level of fighting could be very challenging without becoming impossible to overcome. We determined how to make our challenges as entertaining as they were difficult. We learned how to move from throwing a set of combat encounters to actually telling a story.

The latest group of Rhiassans grew up alongside this plotline, learning how to plan quests and administer magic, and build props and all of those other dozens of skills that go into these productions. The players, over the years, slaughtered hundreds upon hundreds of monsters, went toe-to-toe with our puzzles and physical challenges, struggled through boss encounters, and earned every measure of their victories through floor after floor of hard fighting. And they sometimes got turned into frogs.

Throwing the What Lurks Beneath events was a fulfilling and rewarding experience from beginning to end. The lessons we learned and the fun that we had have impacted all of us as eventholders. We are eternally grateful to the members of our community that helped us along the way, and to our players for giving us a fantastic audience to present our story to.

- Jason T Rosa, December 2013

 



Critical Acclaim for What Lurks Beneath Events

This was a REALLY good dungeon crawl. It was obvious that a lot of effort from many people went into making this event happen, from many years of prop making, some new innovative props, and an assemblage of very good npcs.
- Jason Gray

WLB is a great event because of the number of people who show up and the number of NPCs we face. While we were usually outnumbered, I didn't feel like we were being completely overwhelmed at any point; the fights were always difficult enough to be interesting for six hours, but not so challenging as to wipe us out.
- Ryan Welch

This was the most fun I've had on a quest in a long time. I loved the obvious effort put into the costuming, dungeon layouts, props, challenges, and variety of scenes that we faced. I am amazed and impressed that you were able to get so much quality out of a $10 event.
- Rhiannon Chiacchiaro

The physical challenges were great. The various water puzzles, the coral mixing, the egg game, and, of course, the race. All unusual ideas, and they were carrying out really well.
- Eric Willisson

First off, I want to thank the Staff and NPCs. This was one of the best group of NPCs I've seen. They kept the challenge up without rolling us and made the event fun.
- Victoria Zukas

Definitely one of the best dungeon crawls I have been to.
- Steven Matulewicz

 



What Lurks Beneath Quest Log

One of the design philosophies behind What Lurks Beneath was to create a multi-year plot that did not have a barrier to entry for those who were not around for the very beginning. To help succeed at that goal, we decided to keep a running description of the important parts of every quest, and the plot-critical information that was released, so that anyone could take the time to read it and be as informed as those who had actually been on the quest. The archive of those quest logs is preserved here: What Lurks Beneath Running Quest Log

 



What Lurks Beneath Quest Descriptions

What Lurks Beneath
November, 2009

This was Rhiassa's first foray into throwing a questing event under the leadership of Jason Rosa (Lord Sir Aeston IC). It was also the debut of a new set of dungeon-building equipment that were used and rearranged each level to provide players with a continually changing questing environment throughout the day. Lastly, it was the start of a new dungeon questing style that Rhiassa is hoping to do every year where we run a day-long indoor dungeon crawl for a large (50 player) group while simultaneously running a day-long miniquest on the side that small (5 player) groups get pulled off into for some additional fun and excitement.

All in all, we considered it a great success and were planning the next year's adventure in the days and weeks afterwards. We feel that we gave players an exciting blend of high adventure, drama, combat, roleplaying and above all, fun. Please click on the links below to learn more about our first "What Lurks Beneath" quest event:

Original Event Announcement

Highlights Video

Main Quest Log

Side Quest Log

 



What Lurks Beneath II
The Soul of the Stone
October, 2010

Our second foray into running dungeon quests was a continuation of the style used in the first year, where we run a day-long indoor dungeon crawl for a large (50 player) group while simultaneously running a day-long miniquest on the side for small (5 player) groups. This year we ran a wall across the middle of the auditorium so that we could run players in one half of the gym while setting up the other half for the next encounter. The goal was to have less down-time and we believe we succeeded at that.

It was a lot of hard work, but in the end we felt this year's quest was as good if not better than the previous installment and we are already looking forward to year three. Please click on the links below to learn more about this second "What Lurks Beneath" quest event:

Original Event Announcement

Main Quest Log

Side Quest Log

The Pattern of Life

 



What Lurks Beneath III
The Will of the Wind
December, 2011

Our third attempt at telling our story marked the passing of the event holding duties from Jason Rosa to Mike Labossiere. Mike stepped in as the new organizer of this series as his final squirely task and brought to it a new range of ideas and energy that helped spur everyone to success.

Of particular interest regarding the planning and execution of this event is the fact that our reservation for our normal site, the UCONN gym, was repealed only days before the event date and we were forced to relocate and rework our dungeon and puzzle designs the accommodate our new space, the UCONN arena.

Yet our team was able to rise to that and the other challenges along the way and put together another successful questing event. Please visit the links below to learn more about the third "What Lurks Beneath" event in the series.

Original Event Announcement

Main Quest Log

The Ancient Magic Book

The Children's Spell Primer

 



What Lurks Beneath IV
The Want of the Water
October, 2012

Our fourth effort in telling our story was, by far, our most successful one to date. We were able to build on our previous efforts and years of accumulated props and costumes, and concentrate on all of the little details that would come together to make this year's quest amazing.

We again used the UCONN arena, and knew that we could take advantage of the cement floor with drains, and the spigots on the walls, to throw a water themed event. With a combination of water using puzzles and "underwater" roleplaying encounters, the environment for the quest was just right.

Worth noting was the incredible response that we received to our request for NPCs for this event. We had a huge outpouring of help from the community, and had, at our height, over thirty NPCs playing goblins and trolls for an event capped at fifty players. This allowed us to provide a great level of challenge to the players and we thank our friends for affording us that opportunity.

Original Event Announcement

Main Quest Log

The Ode to the Ussci

 



What Lurks Beneath V
The Fury of the Flame
November, 2013

The fifth and final chapter of our story was able to wrap up the plotline in the grand fashion that was so important to us from the very beginning. We were able to bring to bear all of the props and costuming that we created and acquired over the four previous years, and add to it with some new creations, including a new set of fabric masks; the imps.

We learned through previous years that our player base truly enjoyed "puzzles" that were group challenges, where every member of the questing party had to work together or contribute in some way to moving forward. We had an abundance of challenges like these and kept our players buy with a non-stop assault of fighting and challenges all day long.

Like last year, we had an overwhelming response to our request for NPCs. We didn't have enough costuming, even, to accommodate the huge turnout that we had. For a capped event of fifty to be able to pull together thirty NPCs is no small feat these days, and we are eternally grateful to our friends for allowing us to really challenge our players with so much combat.

Original Event Announcement

Main Quest Log